Skip to main content

The Ghost of Thomas Kempe

author: Penelope Lively (1973)
date read: 5 June 2022
rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

A pleasant if unremarkable ghost story. A young boy is haunted by the poltergeist of the sorcerer Thomas Kempe, and is initially blamed for the destruction, but later finds a way to bring the ghost some peace and closure.

I was quite struck by the final sentences:

Time reached away behind and ahead: back to the crusading knight, and Thomas Kempe, and Aunt Fanny, and Arnold: forward to other people who would leave their names in this place, look with different eyes on the same streets, rooftops, trees. And somewhere in the middle there was James, walking home for tea, his head full of confused but agreeable thoughts, hungry and a little tired, but content.

I don’t recall how this book got onto my shelves – I’m guessing I was given it when I was still in school?

(see all reviews)